West poised to isolate China – and Canada could reap the rewards
The Chinese Communist Party has flouted in outrage for much of the past week as one international diplomatic summit after another has seen world leaders unite to keep it in check. He had been “viciously attacked” with “sinister intentions,” complained his spokespersons.
But there was not much the CCP could do to reverse a trend that has clearly backfired.
Xi Jinping’s “Vision 2035” sets the course for China to achieve world leadership over the next 14 years. This road now looks much rockier, thanks in large part to the unifying efforts of US President Joe Biden.
With his characteristic good-natured air and conscious effort to extend the “Western” alliance to non-Western nations, Biden has already begun to repair the damage his predecessor has done to the principle that democracies unite in the face of authoritarian regimes.
The blows keep coming
A Chinese government spokesperson was quick to dismiss the G7 meeting that started the week as meaningless. “The days when global decisions were dictated by a small group of countries are long gone,” said a spokesperson for the Chinese embassy in London.
But this is where the problem lies for the CCP: The group of countries that oppose Chinese hegemony is not small – and it is growing.
First, the G7 summit produced an imperfect but still significant consensus among the governments of North America, Europe, Japan, India, Australia and South Korea on the need to counter China as one.
NATO has essentially rewritten its doctrine to make China a strategic rival and work to stop the spread of CCP-type totalitarianism.
Most importantly, NATO is committed to reaching out to form new alliances in Asia, Africa and Latin America, where China has made inroads with cash-strapped governments this century.
Biden canals address of Gettysburg
Like Abraham Lincoln, who presented the struggles of his day as a test of whether a democratic nation “so designed and devoted can last long,” Biden defines conflict in ideological terms.
“I predict to you,” he told a White House press conference on March 25, “your children or grandchildren are going to do their doctoral thesis on the question of who is successful, l autocracy or democracy. Because that is what is at stake. “
Biden’s “contest against autocrats”, as he told the G7, was clearly more effective in rallying allies than Donald Trump’s anti-Chinese rhetoric, which was based on crude nationalism with an ugly dollop of racism that most could not swallow.
For Biden, autocracy has a face – that of Xi Jinping, “who has no democratic bone in his body … who thinks that autocracy is the wave of the future and that democracy cannot work. in an increasingly complex world.
“Their overall goal is to become the leading country in the world, the richest country in the world and the most powerful country in the world. It will not happen under my watch.”
But Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made the wrong note by leaving the G7 for NATO, expressing his indifference to the prospect of the Chinese Communist Party becoming a global hegemon.
“Is the goal that as long as China is an authoritarian one-party state, it does not become the world’s leading power?” Trudeau was questioned during his closing press conference in Cornwall, England.
“No,” he replied. “The goal of the G7 has always been the success not only of our countries and our economies, but the success of the global economy.”
The question was repeated. Again, Trudeau objected, saying the goal should be to promote “the opportunity for everyone in the world to realize their potential.”
Most other democratic leaders, however, appeared to fully agree with America’s goal of ensuring that democratic nations do not cede world domination to China.
And at NATO, the morning after expressing indifference to the CCP’s hegemony, Trudeau sang the same pro-democracy score. His closing statement in Brussels said that “during the meeting, Prime Minister Trudeau reiterated Canada’s steadfast commitment to NATO and the values of the Alliance, including individual liberty, democracy, human rights. of man and the rule of law “.
The conflicting messages illustrated how the Trudeau government still grapples with the challenge posed by China.
Since 2016, when he has started talks with the Chinese government on the extradition of people from Canada to stand trial in China, the CCP has learned hard lessons from the Trudeau government in real life.
A Liberal government that five years ago negotiated to voluntarily hand over people to China is now busy removing two of its members – Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor.
In any case, the CCP showed no appreciation for Trudeau’s position and accused him of “sullying” China.
For the CCP, one of the most alarming aspects of this week has been the fact that the alliance forming against it is not only diplomatic or even military, but also economic.
In February, President Biden expressed his determination to end the United States’ dependence on China as a source of strategic materials.
These include rare earth minerals – 80% of which are currently imported from China by the United States – used to make everything from engines and turbines to medical devices.
Biden also said that electric cars and the batteries that power them are a 21st century technology that he does not intend to let China dominate. His administration has ended a trade dispute with South Korean battery makers to support non-Chinese players.
The loss of China, the gain of Canada
The US administration is also in talks to fund a cobalt mine in the Northwest Territories through the US Export-Import Bank for use in battery cathodes. Canadian graphite is promoted for battery anodes. Canadian companies interested in entering the electric vehicle sector can apply for US government grants – a decision explicitly aimed at surpassing China.
On Tuesday in Brussels, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told Trudeau after a Canada-EU summit that her trade bloc – the largest in the world after the United States – was also seeking to replace the Chinese raw materials by Canadian raw materials. .
“We Europeans want to diversify our imports away from producers like China because we want more sustainability, we want less environmental damage and we want transparency on working conditions,” she said. reference to allegations of forced labor in China.
A league of outcasts
Forming something like a global alliance to coerce China would be bad news for the CCP, Johns Hopkins University’s Ho-Fung Hung said – because China has nothing to do with the Western alliance. and little hope of building one.
“The Chinese allies,” said Hung, “are the countries that have little choice but to rely on China, its market and its financial system. These are the countries that are sanctioned by the American and Western coalition like Russia, Iran and North Korea.
“So they need the financial strength, the market and the resources of China to mitigate the negative impact of Western sanctions. They have little choice. They must stay with China. But at the same time, it doesn’t It’s not necessarily the kind of values-based coalition. “
Such allies are not difficult to separate. And so, Biden completed his treble of summits with a meeting in Geneva with Russian Vladimir Putin, offering him a glimpse of an alternative to a role Russia hardly appreciates – that of a junior partner in an anti-democratic alliance led by the United Nations. China.
Biden buttered his Russian opponent in remarks designed to appeal to Russian pride, calling him a “worthy opponent.”
The CCP has reason to fear that if tensions between Russia and the West can be reduced, a new Sino-Soviet split could ensue soon after.
The CCP remains, without a doubt, the most powerful political entity in the world. It has more than twice the number of card members in Canada as a whole, and it exercises deep control over one-fifth of the world’s population. It also has a powerful nuclear arsenal.
But after a week of summits he also looked more lonely than he had been in a long time.